America’s Favorite Regional Fast-Food Chains [MAP]

It’s always been hard to nail down the exact definition of American cuisine. Barbecue, burgers, and hot dogs spring to mind, but just like the nation itself, its food is a melting pot of regional flavors and international dishes beloved by the people who live here. That’s one reason we’d argue that fast-food chains offer the purest culinary expression of the Americana spirit.

There’s no shortage of burger joints, all with their own little spin to make their patties stand out from the crowd. Although there’s a high concentration of farm-to-table, ethically sourced options along the West Coast, the South and Midwest hold it down with the most regional fast-food chains overall — particularly ones known for serving up meals that stick to the ribs. Appropriately, Pollo Tropical is heavily represented in Florida and Puerto Rico, emblematic of the Latin-Caribbean influence in that region. And the Northeast could definitely step its game up when it comes to quick grub offerings — we’d say it’s about damn time the Tri-State gets its own Whataburger equivalent.

For the purposes of this list, we’re talking strictly fast food here, so any place that falls into the “casual dining” sphere with the likes of Applebees and TGI Fridays has been omitted, with the minor exception of a few fast-casual spots. Gas station chains with made-to-order foods also don’t count — sorry, Sheetz and Wawa — nor do any regional fast-food chains that have expanded beyond the reaches of their home territories, like Waffle House and Raising Cane’s. So, gather ‘round and sink your teeth into our list of the best regional fast-food chains across the country.

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The best regional fast food chains, mapped.

The South

Whataburger: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas

Bojangles: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia

Cookout: Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia

Pal’s Sudden Service: Tennessee, Virginia, and Kentucky

Biscuitville: North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia

Hattie B’s Hot Chicken: Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Texas, and Nevada

The West

In-N-Out Burger: Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, and Utah

Farmer Boys: Arizona, California, and Nevada

TacoTime: Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming

The Midwest

Skyline Chili: Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and Florida

Braum’s: Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Missouri, and Arkansas

Maid-Rite: Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, and Ohio

Runza: Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska

Schoop’s Burgers: Illinois and Indiana

The Northwest

Burgerville: Oregon and Washington

Dick’s Drive-in: Washington

The Northeast

D’Angelo Grilled Sandwiches: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island

The Southeast

Pollo Tropical: Florida and Puerto Rico

Krystal: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas


Zippy’s: Hawaii and Las Vegas


*Photo sourced from kanpisut –